Eighteen-month-old infants show increased helping following priming with affiliation

Harriet Over, Malinda Carpenter
Psychological Science 2009, 20 (10): 1189-93
We show that the mere hint of affiliation dramatically increases prosocial behavior in infants. Eighteen-month-old infants helped a person in need more often, and more spontaneously, when primed with photographs evoking affiliation than when primed with photographs evoking individuality. This study demonstrates that social primes can have an influence on infant behavior, and so opens up a wealth of possibilities for future research. In addition, these data have wide-ranging practical implications, suggesting that subtle changes to the social environment can promote prosocial behavior in children.

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